Zim plunged into crisis - Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe shaken by fraudulent elections, 'hijacked' for the 3rd time by Mugabe since 1980.

Robert Mugabe.

HARARE - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is calling on SADC and the African Union to investigate the country's elections which he has dubbed 'fraudulent'.

It was announced yesterday that Zanu-PF's President Robert Mugabe won a two thirds majority in Zimbabwe's parliament. This means that Mugabe's party can now change the new constitution and impose presidential term limits.

Zimbabweans went to the polls on Wednesday and the Prime Minister has labelled the voting process and the results as an outright sham. An official result is still pending.

This is the 3rd time Tsvangirai has lost to Mugabe who has been in power since 1980

Tsvangirai says he plans to challenge the results in court.

"The fraudulent and stolen election has plunged Zimbabwe into a constitutional, political and economic crisis. In this regard, the MDC expects that SADEC and AU shall meet urgently to deal with the crisis in order to restore constitutional, political, legal legitimacy in this country."

The disputed election victory by Mugabe's Zanu-PF this week threatens a fragile economic recovery as the party warned it would speed up a drive to seize majority stakes in foreign firms.

Zimbabweans went to the polls on Wednesday.

ZANU-PF'S POLITICAL AGENDA

In comments that may rattle foreign-owned banks and mining firms in the southern African state, Zanu-PF legal affairs deputy secretary Patrick Chinamasa said the party was ready to rebuild damaged relations with the West, but would press on with the transfer of control of foreign firms to locals.

"We will keep pushing for local ownership of companies. We will keep pushing for a Zimbabwean economy," Chinamasa told a news conference. "There has to be something to show for the fact that Zimbabwe has an abundance of natural resources."

Mugabe campaigned on a platform of redistributing the country's wealth by taking at least 51 percent shares in foreign-owned firms to hand them over to black Zimbabweans.

ZIMBABWE'S PLIGHT

The economy had started to stabilise after Mugabe formed a unity government in 2009 with rival Morgan Tsvangirai to end a stand-off over another contested election, halting a decade of recession marked by hyper-inflation and chronic shortages of food and foreign currency.

Those hardships are still fresh in the minds of Zimbabweans, who endured long queues for everything from bread to fuel and cash and are wary of Zanu-PF's poor track record on the economy.

Harare banks handled huge cash withdrawals in the run-up to this week's election as customers fretted over the outcome, and the outflows could continue for a while, a senior banker said;

"There is a lot of uncertainty. For the foreseeable future, people will continue to keep their money outside the banks because nobody really knows what will happen next," the banker, who declined to be named, said.

Outgoing Finance Minister Tendai Biti, a member of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) cut his 2013 growth forecast to 3.4 percent from 5 percent last week, saying disputes over the election result would hurt the economy.